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What is mailshot advertising

Reading time: 8 minutes

There are many ways a business can try to reach potential customers locally. We have online advertising, outdoor advertising and many other techniques available.

One of the most effective ways of reaching people locally where they live is mailshot advertising.
What is mailshot advertising

What is mailshot advertising
What is mailshot advertising

What is mailshot advertising?

Mailshots rely on a distributor delivering your physical printed pamphlets through the letterboxes of homes in your selected area.

If your designs are of high quality, the selected area is relevant to your business and the distributor does a good job with the deliveries, mailshots can be very effective.

Mailshot advertising has a long history in the UK and businesses of all sizes in all different areas use it regularly.

What is mailshot advertising

The biggest advantage of mailshots

The biggest advantage of this technique is its ability to get your message to every single household in a given area.

We can do this across the board with no demographic skew. When you select an area you want to target we can make sure that every single household in the area receives your pamphlet.

Most other methods of advertising will have some sort of demographic skew or will be better at targeting certain niches. Mailshot advertising gives you the ability to look only at a geographic location and get to everyone in it.

This can be very helpful for a local restaurant that wants to reach everyone in their delivery radius. Local churches, councils, estate agents and dentists like mailshots for this reason also.

What is mailshot advertising

Can you target demographics with mailshots?

Being able to target geographically specific areas is good, but you might still want to target some concrete demographic groups.

This is absolutely possible with mailshot advertising. You will need to look for an established UK distribution company that uses a high quality mapping system.

You want to make sure that this mapping system is proprietary and that someone at the company can help you understand how it works.

With some help from a knowledgeable sales rep, these proprietary mapping systems should give you the ability to target specific demographic groups.

At the Private Postman for example we can target

– single professionals
– students
– young families
– wealthy, middle class, average income households
– homes with gardens
– homes based on architectural features
– homes near a park
– etc…

As you can see we can help skew your map selection to favour certain ages, types of households and even economic groups.

On the other hand we can target homes near a park for personal trainers or dog walkers. We can focus on homes with Sash windows or other architectural features (of which there are many in the UK) for estate agents, builders, craftsmen or gardeners.

What is mailshot advertising

How to plan a mailshot?

In order to make a mailshot campaign a reality you will need to make pamphlets first.

The most important part in the process of designing a pamphlet for a mailshot is deciding on the goal of your campaign first.

There should ultimately be a single goal you are focused on. Let’s take a local restaurant as an example. The goal a restaurateur can set for a mailshot could look like this

“I want more people to know about my restaurant” – focus on mindshare
“I want to advertise a specific type of dish my restaurant makes” – focus on only one type of dish
“I want to advertise an event I’m organising coming up in two months” – focus on the event only
“I want more local people to use my delivery app of choice and order my food” – share a QR code to your app profile on your flyer

It is important that each mailshot you are sending out is focused towards a singular goal.

You don’t want to be advertising the fact that you have the best pasta in NW3, a wine tasting event coming up, that you deliver your food and that you won the UK Pizza Championships on a single mailshot.

You want to pick one of these things to focus on. A company like The Private Postman has streamlined the production and delivery system so much that mailshots have become affordable. You can run multiple mailshots each focused on a different element of your business.

What is mailshot advertising

Design and print for a mailshot

The general rule around mailshot design is to always use a professional.

Since you should be discussing the plans for your campaign with your distribution company from the beginning they might have a graphic designer on staff.

If you can take advantage of a setup like this, do it. Keeping everything under one roof can be very helpful.

Making changes to your designs becomes very easy as you minimise the need for back-and-forth emailing. You will get professional input from the designer and distributor under one roof.

In this format everyone with input into your mailshot design will understand the ultimate goal of your campaign from the beginning.

A mailshot advertising company will also be able to get you a good price for the printing of your pamphlets. They will have relationships with large UK printing houses and a larger company that prints hundreds of thousands or millions of designs a week can get a better price than an individual.

What is mailshot advertising

One last tip for mailshot design

Pay extra attention to the quality of photos you use on your mailshots. Modern mailshot design is fairly simple but relies on good quality photography.

Spend some time getting great photos whether you can source high quality stock images or have a professional make custom photographs for you.

What is mailshot advertising

Multiple mailshots?

We’ve already mentioned the fact that if your business covers a wide range of products or services you might want to use multiple mailshots targeting the same homes over time.

Every mailshot should focus on a single goal. However you can run campaigns with multiple mailshots each advertising a different part of your business.

This can be as simple as two mailshots leading to an event. It can also take the form of a new mailshot every month targeting the same homes.

With a sensitive approach there is a very high success rate with repeated mailshots to UK households. It is important that you change your designs often in order to not develop exposure fatigue on the part of the recipients and keep rest periods between mailshots long enough. (at least a few weeks)

However when done correctly repeated mailshots consistently show better response rates than single deliveries. Always talk to your distribution company first and plan your repeated mailshots with them.

What is mailshot advertising

Catalogues and brochures

In general the format recommended for mailshot advertising will be an A5, single page pamphlet.

Sometimes however a multi-page catalogue or a brochure might do a better job. Both catalogues and brochures can be a part of a mailshot but these campaigns will tend to be more specialised.

The pricing structure will be different as the logistics of doing these mailshots are more involved.

What is mailshot advertising

Keeping mailshots efficient

So what should you look out for when booking a mailshot campaign with a new company?

The most important thing is that they communicate with you and help you plan your campaign from the ground up. They should be able to help you select the right areas to target with your mailshot advertising based on your goals and budget.

On top of this they must be able to run shared distribution. This means that your pamphlets will be a part of a mailshot with one or two other companies.

There are no differences in response rates between delivering your pamphlets on their own or as a part of a shared mailshot. There is a considerable difference in price though. Go with shared delivery where possible.

What is mailshot advertising

Can you track a mailshot?

Before you start working with a distribution company you always want to check their tracking systems first.

When the distributor finishes your mailshot you need to know that all deliveries were done properly and as agreed.

At The Private Postman we operate a GPS system and a live system at the same time. Our live system informs you in real time about where your pamphlets are being delivered in real time.

You can anonymously come see the deliveries taking place without anyone knowing.

On top of this each distributor carries a GPS device that tracks them walking up to each letterbox. We download these files and share them with you at the end of each mailshot campaign.

On a Google map-like set up you can see each delivery taking place in high resolution.

What is mailshot advertising

How much does a mailshot cost?

At The Private Postman our prices start from £45/1000 + VAT for shared and £75/1000 + VAT for solo mailshots.

We can also help you put together very well priced design and print packages.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Yes we do. It’s 5,000 leaflets per postcode. If you have less than 5,000, you will be charged for 5,000 anyway – it’s the minimum job rate. We can print 5,000 leaflets from around £90.